The hangover from Scarlet Fever lurks in the household like a persistent stalker outside the bathroom window.
Headaches abound, and everyone is clamouring for drugs. Everyone apart from me, of course, because I am harder than a diamond and actively enjoy suffering because it reminds me how awesomely brave and stoic I am, like Joan of Arc, but with better hair.
At times like these, I thank all that is holy for Barbie heroin, mother’s little helper, also known as junior paracetamol.
Ah, the crimson-hued bringer of peace, the glittering syrup of silence, the strawberry-flavoured elixir that makes hurty tum-tums go bye-byes at bedtime.
It came as somewhat of a blow, therefore, to read a report from the Food Commission revealing that a huge number of junior medicines are jam-packed with a cocktail of synthetic dyes, preservatives and sweeteners, all of which are banned in food and drink made for young children.
Apparently, junior paracetamol isn’t extracted from organic pomegranates, the glitter isn’t fairy dust and when we give them a painkiller, we might as well be injecting them in the eyeballs with amphetamines or passing them a crack pipe (as if! That crack is all mine).
A conspiracy of silence surrounds the administering of infant paracetamol. Parents who would rather gnaw off their own arm than give their children sweets will cheerfully funnel neon pink numbing sparkle juice into their offspring at the merest hint of an injury or an ache.
For all those parents confused about the difference between additive-riddled sweets and additive-riddled junior medicines, I have compiled an at-a-glance guide.
(a) The devil’s own work and single-handedly responsible for the rise in childhood obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, gun crime and global warming.
(b) Bad because they make Tilly hyperactive if she so much as SNIFFS a Starburst.
(c) Ultimately pointless because in time, Tarquin and Jemima will actually prefer dried kumquats and candied beetroot to a packet of Haribo or a bag of space dust.
Junior medicines, on the other hand, are:
(a) A bloody Godsend. Put your thumb over the ingredients label and pour a spoonful would you? EastEnders is on in 10 minutes and I can’t hear the telly through the screaming.